Audi introduces VR experience platform at CES

Alyssa Clementi

Audi has debuted an in-car entertainment system that will allow passengers to use virtual reality technology to interact with movies, video games, and more while inside the vehicle. The technology requires virtual reality glasses, and “adopts virtual content to the movements of a vehicle in real time”. For example, if the car takes a right turn, a ship or plane in the virtual experience will do the same.

The technology was created when Audi’s subsidiary, Audi Electronics Venture GmbH, launched a new start-up company, named holoride GmbH. The start-up intends to commercialize this new virtual content technology via an open platform, eventually becoming available to all car makers and content developers.

“Creative minds will use our platform to come up with fascinating worlds that turn the journey from A to B into a real adventure,” said Nils Wollny, head of digital business at Audi, and future chief executive officer of holoride. “We can only develop this new entertainment segment by adopting a cooperative, open approach for vehicle, device and content producers.”

Audi is demonstrating the tech at CES, partnering with “Marvel’s Avengers: Rocket’s Rescue Run,” which was created by Disney Games and Interactive Experiences. Wearing VR glasses, backseat passengers in the Audi e-tron will be launched into outer space aboard a rocket ship manned by characters from Guardians of the Galaxy. The game’s journey is led by Rocket, who will be appearing in Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame later this year. The rocket ship will then mimic the exact movements of the car, including turning, stopping, slowing, and accelerating.

Audi plans to use holoride to launch new forms of virtual entertainment within the next three years, all using VR glasses for passengers in the backseat. Eventually, Audi aims to integrate all five senses into the holoride software for a more immersive experience. The company also states that since the visual experience from the glasses is synched with the user’s movements, motional sickness will be significantly reduced.

Audi and Marvel Studios first partnered in 2008, when an Audi R8 appeared in Iron Man. Since then, Audi and the Marvel Universe have been working together to integrate the Marvel Cinematic Universe into Audi’s technology.

“Audi, Marvel and Disney Games and Interactive Experiences are celebrating Marvel Studios’ 10th anniversary with an Avengers experience that combines world class content and innovative technology,” said Mike Goslin, vice president, Disney Games and Interactive Experiences. “While this CES demo was developed purely in the spirit of exploration and experimentation, we are constantly evaluating emerging technologies to enhance our stories and experiences.”